Monday, June 1, 2009

Review: The Life of Pi

Title: The Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
Pages: 325
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5
The Life of Pi is a story of a boy who is moving to Canada from India with his family. They are going by boat because they have to deliver some animals along the way from the zoo they owned in India. While they are at sea, the cargo boat sinks and everyone aboard unfortunately does not make it except for Pi. He finds himself on a life boat with a tiger, zebra, hyena, and orangutan. After so long the only two who are left is Pi and the tiger, Richard Parker. Pi is at sea for 7 months before finally reaching land in Mexico. The majority of the novel talks of his journey at sea with just himself and Richard Parker.
Before you even get to the story of the journey at sea, Pi talks about his religious beliefs. He practices Christianity, Hinduism, and Muslim. In a way I appreciate that part of the book because there are many great things in all religions not just one. He also relates the zoo to religion. I don't have the book anymore so I cannot take a direct quote, but to summarize and to tell you my take on what was meant is this. The animals in the zoo are kept in cages, or restricted if you will, but also they get the best of what life has to offer. A meal (spiritual fulfillment), a clean home (peace of mind), someone looking after them (God). Zoo's are at time protested against because the animals are not "free to live their own lives" and so the same for religious believers; not "free to live their own lives". I found the first section to be very thought provoking and delicious.
When the second part of the book starts, I enjoyed reading but my love turned to just like. I am sure the story goes a lot deeper than I can see, but it seemed to be very long. I felt like it was going on forever. I also thought that for someone who is so religious, I did not hear much of God, and he did not mention too much about him praying and relying on a Higher Power. I thought that to be just a little odd, especially because he was so religious before the ship sank. Why would he, at the darkest part of his life, not have God be a bigger part of the story?
All in all, I enjoyed the book. I gave it 3 out of 5.


Lauren said...

I read/reviewed this book not too long ago as well! It was really interesting to read your take on it, esp considering i'm not very religious and only somewhat picked up on the implications. I took it more of a face value book, but, like you, believe there's a lot more within it. I do agree that it dragged a bit in the middle, but I really enjoyed it. I suppose my enjoyment came at the end, though, with the ultimate question of the real world vs. a more exciting fake one. I really liked that ending.

Care said...

I had similar reactions. In fact, my opinion lessened the more reviews I read AFTER reading the book and that was a strange effect, I thought.

Rebecca :) said...

I read this book in February and really liked it. I actually did not feel that Pi was very religious, just that religion was a part of his life. I also think that tragic circumstances can do one of two things to a person: make you cling to God or make you want to have nothing to do with him.

Pi was in a circumstance where God did not really seem to be present to him. Sure, he had survived, but at what cost? Was God helping him or was it Pi helping himself because God had abandoned him? He had a lot of thoughts to wrestle with and a whole lot of time in which to do it.

I liked reading your take on it. I kind of related religion to the zoo, but not quite as thoroughly as you had.

Trish said...

I have to admit that I read this one so long ago that my memory has kind of faded. It's one that I didn't love and didn't see what all the fuss was about but have kept to revisit one day to see if I 'get it' It's interesting what you say about him not calling upon God during his darkest moments. I can't help but think of Primo Levi and many many other Jews who turned from their religion and God during the Holocaust. It's interesting how different people deal with tragedy and despair.